For me, eating is always an emotional experience. I want to eat food that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. Depending on my mood, that can mean very different things. Sometimes all I want is a creamy croqueta or my mom’s mac and cheese… but other times, my body begs for whole grains, greens, and lean protein.
To be completely honest (pun intended), I didn’t realize how much I missed healthy, home-cooked meals until I found Honest Greens. This brand new spot in Nuevos Ministerios may at first glance look like just another hipster cafe, but I swear it’s something special.
The space itself is impeccably decorated and practically begging to be Instagrammed. The open kitchen means you can watch all the magic happen. But even more exciting is the fact that most of the menu items are on display right in front of you, so you can browse the options before making your (very difficult) choice.
This is one of those places where I would happily devour anything on the menu, so ordering is a considerable challenge. Luckily, they break it down into a nice and simple process: choose between a market plate or a garden bowl, then pick your sides or protein. Easier said than done.
The market plates come with either chipotle marinated chicken, rare beef, tuna tataki, homemade falafel, or black pepper tofu. Each is accompanied by a fresh green salad with pesto dressing and organic sourdough bread with herbed butter.
Is your mouth watering yet? I’ve barely gotten started. After you choose your base, you get to add extra sides from an overwhelming list. Cold options include coleslaw, beet salad, creamed eggplant, lentils, hummus, and roasted watermelon (yeah, you read that right). Hot sides include mashed pumpkin, baked cauliflower, roasted beets, herbed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and organic sweet potato, each with creative garnishes ranging from spirulina to spiced yogurt.
I highly recommend the chicken, and although the beef was a bit raw for my liking, it’s received rave reviews from plenty of my friends. You can’t go wrong with the seasonal vegetables or the sweet potatoes, which add some color and carbs to the plate. And speaking of carbs, the bread might actually be the best part of the dish. Freshly grilled and soaked in butter… how can you argue with that?
If you want to put vegetables front and center, opt for a garden bowl instead. Spicy kale, ginger honey goat cheese, peanut chili lentils, sesame greens, wild coconut quinoa… with names like that, you can hardly imagine the possibilities. Each bowl is filled to the brim with various veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and dressings. You can also add any protein for an extra boost.
Oh, and did I mention there’s a soup of the day?
Once all that has sunk in, turn your attention to the drinks. They’ve got cold pressed juices, homemade fruit-infused waters, wine, beer, and vermut—plus organic fair trade coffee. In fact, one of the highlights of the place is the adorable coffee truck parked outside, advertising their specialty beans.
The portions here are generous and filling, proving once and for all that it’s possible to feel fully satisfied after a healthy meal. But if you manage to save room, try one of the sugarless and gluten-free desserts. Their takes on classics like carrot cake and apple crumble might not be exactly what you’re expecting, but they have their own charm. If you’ve got a real sweet tooth you might be disappointed, but it’s totally worth it to at least give them a chance.
The best thing about Honest Greens is that it combines the trend of vegetarian and vegan cafes with a selection that caters to meat-eaters as well. While I love a good veggie burger and am slightly addicted to kale, I won’t deny that every meal can be improved by a grilled chicken breast or a juicy steak. For me, this place is the best of both worlds.
Whatever dietary camp you belong to, you’ll find something here that fits your tastes. And the next time you’re craving some good, honest greens… well, you know where to go.